DJH: My post Monday on My Hip Replacement and Obamacare seems to have struck a nerve. Although it came out on Memorial Day, I received a record level of comments and emails from readers. Two of those comments deserve to be shared with everyone, so here you go.
The first is from Sigrid MacDonald, the Canadian woman who I cited as an example of a hip replacement patient who suffered extensively due to the Canadian National Healthcare System. Here’s what Sigrid MacDonald wrote:
Hi Dave,First, let me say that I’m so glad that you are making a speedy recovery. I’m happy for you and thrilled that you received excellent care.
Second, thanks for mentioning my story. My recovery was a nightmare, which is why I was careful to include several Americans in my book, to ensure that I didn’t portray just the Canadian experience.
I totally agree that wait times in Canada are insane. Now I need a knee replacement. I was referred by my GP, after suffering for several years with tolerable pain, to a joint clinic at the hospital recently. They said my knee joint is shot and that I can see the surgeon on July 15th. He will then put me on his TEN MONTH waiting list. EEEK. I swore last time that if I needed a new joint I’d go private but I can’t afford it, so I have to wait (me and my Percocet).
I don’t view Obama care as you do (I’m still a Democrat at heart), but what I think he should have done is simply insured those who couldn’t afford healthcare – sucked the low income people up into Medicaid, or expanded Medicare for those age 55 with low incomes. Then he could have left everyone else who was happy with their good healthcare alone!
There is no comparison between the two countries in terms of joint replacement or seeing specialists; Michael Moore definitely got that one wrong by interviewing a skewed population of happy campers. Take care and stay hip!Sigrid
As I read over Sigrid’s blog, one thing jumps out and that is the massive growth in joint replacements that will be required by active baby boomers in America. Sure, Cancer and Heart disease research will continue with varying levels of success, but we’ll never know if Obamacare hurt these efforts.
Joint replacements are quite different. These are very technical devices that improve daily though “profit funded” R&D at places like Johnson & Johnson or Stryker, and the skill of “compensation motivated” surgeons has a direct bearing on the results achieved by the patient. When the government starts “setting fees,” the quality of the devices and skills of the surgeons will be “frozen in time,” and innovation will become a thing of the past.
Joint Replacements are also very expensive. They require multi-day hospitalizations and large teams to execute correctly. When money gets tight, or spending gets cut — as we’ve been told it will, this is where waiting lines will appear.
Even a self-proclaimed democrat like Sigrid see’s that Obama’s health care agenda is wrong and will hurt millions of people needlessly.
The Voice of a Skilled Surgeon
The other email I’d like to share came from a very skilled surgeon in the desert named Richard Foxx. Richard is an loyal reader of Who Stole My Career? and decided that he’d weigh in on this topic from a medical career perspective.
Dr. Foxx writes:
I just finished reading your post. I’m so pleased your hip surgery is behind you and you are doing so well.
Obama and the progressives pulled a fast one on this country. We are in for more than one rude moment of awakening as the reality of ObamaCare sets in.
After the Brave New World of ObamaCare drives all of the private insurance providers out of business (which will happen within five years) and after all the “uninsured” and (former) illegals come under the umbrella there will be an intense shortage of docs. The shortfall of docs will result in nurse practitioners and physician assistants, so-called physician-extenders, being granted more privileges. Eventually your family physician will be nothing but a fond memory and most of the “routine” health care in this country will be delivered by RN’s.
Doctors still think they will be able to “opt out” of ObamaCare. The government will not allow that to happen. Just as happened in Canada when they enacted their socialized medicine, doctors will be fined or their license not renewed unless they participate. (I understand a bill is making its way through the legislature of The Peoples Republic of Massachusetts that will allow the state not to renew the licenses of physicians who don’t participate.) The system simply cannot function unless all of the doctors become government employees. I’m sure Obama and the socialists will do it under the guise of an “emergency” so there will be no defense.
The next step is that doctor reimbursements will be cut. California ranks 47 in Medi-Cal reimbursements to physicians because of the pension-driven budget demands of the unions and the fact that the state is bankrupt. (That’s out of 50 states, which there were at last count.)
Of course all of the high-powered docs in places such as New England Baptist Hospital will not be immune from this nationalization and places such as NEBH will not be allowed to exist or if they continue to exist they will be so changed as to be unrecognizable.
Practicing in a resort, as I do, I have patients who come back year after year from all over the world. Patients from England put their dental work and medical issues on hold until they come back to the area. The reason: Care in the UK is atrocious. Cosmetic dental care nonexistent as is cosmetic medicine.
I have no end of patients from Canada who come down to the desert just to have their knees, hips, hernias, hemorrhoids, etc taken care of here. The waiting times in Canada are unconscionable. The horror stories I hear are endless.
Even though most docs are thought to be unimaginative drones, they do have at least an average IQ. Doctors don’t take a vow of poverty and the profit motive is alive and well. The average tuition in med school is about $60,000. That’s got to be paid off eventually. How long do you think it will take before med school enrollments drop off? Or will we have another bill to pay for medical school costs?
And just wait until they institute the criteria for elective surgeries like they have in the UK. The government will weigh such things as age, general health, past history, etc. and come up with something that will have a name such as Quality Adjusted Life Years. If you are over 70, for example, overweight, hypertensive, on medication, good luck getting approved for elective surgery.
I know you have heard of Ezekiel Immanuel. He’s Rahm’s brother and a major White House consultant on ObamaCare. He, and others, have said we must concentrate our health care dollars on younger people who will be more productive longer. Reading what he has written brings to mind another great physician: Josef Mengele who worked in the concentration camps during WWII and was also known as the “Angel of Death.”
Richard M. Foxx, M.D.
Richard clearly “tells it as it is,” but his point reveals a great deal more about the mess where facing under Obamacare. As you might have guessed, I’ve spoken to quite few top-notch surgeons over the last year. I suspect many of them vote democrat, and may have even voted for Obama, but never again. Eventually, we end up talking Obamacare and let me tell you, they are pissed! I think Richard clearly demonstrates this.
The other thing I picked up is just how unique these fine men are (sorry — I didn’t run into any women surgeons). These guys are not bookworm geeks, they are the best of the best. They have strong personalities, they are natural leaders who possess tremendous cognitive and communication skills. They could have any career they wanted and choose surgery because they thought it was the best career possible.
Now they hear our president accuse surgeons of ordering unnecessary surgery on a child to pad their bills and they’re rethinking their career choice. We know that graduation rates in the medical field are falling well short of projected demand and this won’t help.
Trust me, you must take a position against Obamacare in November or you will suffer (and I’m talking pain).